The UK and Bulgaria are investigating possible connections between the Salisbury nerve agent attack and a 2015 poisoning in Bulgaria.
One of the three Russian suspects linked to the poisoning of ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal is alleged to have been involved in the poisoning of the Bulgarian owner of an arms factory three years earlier.
Russian citizen Sergei Fedotov made three trips to Bulgaria in 2015 – including once in April, which is when Emilian Gebrev was poisoned, Bulgarian chief prosecutor Sotir Tsatsarov said.
Mr Gebrev survived the attack, but a Finnish laboratory has been unable to identify the poison that was used.
Britain’s ambassador to Sofia, Emma Hopkins, said she had discussed the possible poisoning of Mr Gebrev in a meeting with Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borrissov.
She told reporters on Monday: “We are working in a joint team and a close partnership, and we are going to find out the facts in this case.
“All questions about the national security of the UK and Bulgaria are of paramount importance to us, and we will continue this investigation even after Brexit.”
Investigative group Bellingcat said Fedotov was also suspected of being involved in the novichok nerve agent poisoning of Mr Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury last year.
Fedotov is said to have arrived in the UK two days before the March 2018 attack, on the same day as the two suspected attackers.
“Significant” data had been gathered on Fedotov’s trips to Bulgaria as part of an investigation into the poisoning, Mr Tsatsarov added.
He said: “We are establishing all moments while he was on Bulgarian territory, the hotels, the vehicles he used, contacts with Bulgarian citizens.
“Since then, we have been working in full co-operation and co-ordination with the British services.
“They have full access to all documents and all the materials in the case and the results of all investigative actions.”
Mr Tsatsarov said that Mr Gebrev had written to him in October to say he had reason to suspect he may have been poisoned by a substance from the same family as novichok.
However, he acknowledged there was no scientific evidence to back his claims.
Blood and urine tests confirmed the presence of organophosphorus compounds in Mr Gebrev’s system, which are used in some pesticides.
Mr Gebrev’s condition improved and he was discharged from hospital a month later.
Laboratories previously confirmed that novichok was used in the Salisbury poisonings, with the Skripals surviving after weeks in hospital.
UK officials have blamed the attack on the Russian military agency GRU and charged two Russian suspects, who went by the names Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov.
Russian authorities have denied involvement and Moscow refused to extradite the men to the UK.
New York City vows to end hairstyle discrimination after ‘racist stereotypes’ | US News
New guidelines have been introduced in New York City to stop hairstyle discrimination.
Employers have been warned they could face legal action for banning styles associated with black people, such as afros, dreadlocks or corn rows, or for instructing black workers to straighten their hair.
Numerous schools until now have banned dreadlocks, afros and other hairstyles.
The legal guidance says existing human rights law protects New Yorkers’ right to “maintain natural hair or hairstyles that are closely associated with their racial, ethnic or cultural identities”.
Although the protections apply to everyone, they were prompted mainly by “racist stereotypes that black hairstyles are unprofessional”, the NYC Commission on Human Rights said.
The commission’s chairwoman Carmelyn P Malalis tweeted after releasing the guidelines: “Hair is a part of you. Race discrimination based on hair is illegal in NYC.”
The guidance in effect enables people to take companies and organisations to court if they have been harassed or punished in workplaces, schools or public spaces because of their hair texture or style.
However, hair nets and bands can still be required for health and safety reasons.
In December, a white referee sparked uproar when he told a black New Jersey high school wrestler to cut his dreadlocks before a match or forfeit it.
Although the teenager had his hair cut, many criticised the demand, including the state’s governor and an Olympic wrestler.
Last year, the Supreme Court refused to hear a discrimination case involving a black Alabama woman who said she was sacked from her job because she refused to cut her dreadlocks.
An appeal found in favour of the employer and said federal law protects people from discrimination based on “immutable characteristics, but not their cultural practices”.
New York City’s human rights law is distinct from federal anti-discrimination law.
Ms Malalis said: “There’s nothing keeping us from calling out these policies prohibiting natural hair or hairstyles most closely associated with black people.”
Scraping for food to survive: Inside the frontline of Yemen’s devastating civil war | World News
Yemen’s warring parties have agreed to withdraw their forces from Hodeidah – providing fresh hope for the fragile ceasefire in the city.
No timeline has been announced for the withdrawal – it was originally scheduled for last month.
But Sky News has been told by forces who are reporting daily violations that the ceasefire agreement could collapse at any time.
An agreement was reached between Yemen’s UN-recognised government and their rivals – the Houthis – at the end of last year.
And amid this grinding war a desperate population struggling to survive is scraping in the dirt for whatever handouts they can get.
Sky News gained rare access to Hodeidah by travelling along Yemen’s west coast.
We were taken to the Red Sea Flour Mills on the edge of the city.
The front line position is now controlled by the coalition – inside the stores the grain is spoiling in the heat.
Aid agencies say although the fighting has paused they can’t cross the front lines to access the supplies.
Under the agreement of the new talks this should change and access should be allowed but confidence and trust between the two sides remains low.
The UN says the grain is enough to feed 3.7 million people for a month – vital food in a country where 10 million people are on the brink of famine.
Emirati forces claim it is the Houthis, who are less than a kilometre away, who are blocking distribution.
They have been accused of shelling the grain silos so that one was set alight and is still burning several weeks later.
The Houthis have meanwhile accused the coalition of violating the agreement.
The break in the fighting between the Iran-backed rebels and the Saudi-led coalition is the only flicker of hope for Yemen.
It is place where light no longer shines – famine and starvation stalk the population.
At a field hospital near Hodeidah the medical staff are barely coping – the place is full of sick and hungry children.
Some 13 days after she was admitted, Bashira is still struggling to breathe.
The one-year-old’s tiny lungs are weak from lack of food.
Dr Faris Ali Abdu Shami says she’s one of the lucky ones.
“The situation is so bad. And there is not enough support like drugs, food, milk that children like her need,” he says.
I ask him what happens to children like Bashira who don’t get help.
“They will die,” he replies.
The war erupted out of an Arab Spring uprising.
But the conflict cannot be resolved through military might – the coalition believes controlling the main commercial port will clinch victory and restore Yemen’s internationally recognised government.
The path to a political settlement will not be easy – the roads are littered with IEDs and landmines.
Emirati forces are clearing and destroying them every day but even if the latest talks are successful the risk of further violence is great.
We were shown 1,200 anti-tank mines and 396 IEDs collected from various locations along the west coast of Yemen.
They were taken to the town of Mocha and destroyed.
But for now the stalemate remains and it is delicate.
Both sides have agreed to withdrawal measures but because the issue is so sensitive no timeline has been agreed.
If the negotiations fail, the lull in the fighting may not last much longer and the disaster of a full-scale offensive on Hodeidah may become reality.
The UK welcomed the agreement but urged all sides in the conflict to continue working together.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesperson said: “The UK welcomes progress made on agreeing redeployment of troops from Hodeidah by the government of Yemen and the Houthis this weekend.
“This encouraging progress represents a significant step forward in the political process. But more careful work remains to be done.
“The UK urges all parties to continue to work with the UN Special Envoy to rapidly finalise and implement the agreed plan.
“As the foreign secretary re-emphasised alongside UAE, US and Saudi Arabian foreign ministers at the Yemen Quad in Warsaw, a political settlement remains the only way to bring long-term stability to Yemen and to address the worsening humanitarian crisis.
“The Yemeni parties must engage constructively and in good faith to overcome obstacles and find a political solution to end the conflict.”
Kashmir: India-Pakistan tensions flare as more soldiers are killed in gun battle | World News
Tensions in the disputed Kashmir region have escalated further after four Indian soldiers, three suspected militants, a police official and a civilian were killed during a gun battle.
The nine deaths come after a local Kashmiri militant rammed a van fitted with explosives into a paramilitary bus on Thursday, killing at least 40 soldiers.
The suicide bombing was the worst attack against Indian government forces in Kashmir’s history.
Security officials said the latest fighting broke out after government forces surrounded a village in the region of southern Pulwama, following a tip-off that militants were hiding out there.
Monday’s violence saw a senior police officer, an army officer and another three soldiers wounded.
Police said troops had come under heavy gunfire as they started conducting searches.
Residents reported troops destroying one house with explosives during the stand-off.
The bodies of two militants were recovered from the debris and a civilian was killed in the crossfire, according to police.
Among the soldiers killed in the gun battle was an Indian army major. One of the wounded soldiers is reportedly in a critical condition.
Anti-India protests and clashes followed the fighting, with residents – mainly young people – trying to march to the site of the stand-off in solidarity with the rebels.
Government troops fired tear gas at the protesters, who were reportedly throwing stones.
India has blamed Pakistan over Thursday’s suicide bombing as tensions continue to grow between the neighbouring nations.
New Delhi has promised a “jaw-breaking response” to the attack.
However, Pakistan has warned India not to link it with the bombing without an investigation and said it was part of New Delhi’s “known rhetoric and tactics” to divert attention from human rights violations in Kashmir.
Both India and Pakistan administer part of Kashmir but both sides claim the entire region belongs to them.
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